Israel’s security cabinet has unanimously approved on Thursday the building of a new settlement in the West Bank. The settlement’s construction in the West Bank would be the first new settlement in over 20 years, according to the office of the Israeli Prime Minister.
According to international law, Israel’s move is illegal. The decision came one week after the United Nations (UN) criticized Israel for not taking any measures to halt the building of settlements in occupied Palestine.
During his meeting with the United States (U.S.) president Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that, politically speaking, he has to keep his promise to Amona residents to build them new homes after an Israeli court ruled that they had been illegally given land that is privately owned by Palestinians.
Despite the vague stance on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Trump has objected to the building of new settlements. However, he implied that he is open to a one-state solution.
Following the decision of Israel, a White House official told Haaretz that the decision of Israel was originally scheduled before Trump expressed his concerns regarding new settlements, adding that Israel will take Trump’s concerns into considerations from now on.
The Israeli decision was issued one day after the Arab leaders had gathered in Jordan for the 28th Arab League Summit. The “Amman Declaration” asserted the Arabs adherence to a two-state solution, which may be hindered by the constant attempts of Israel to expand in building new settlements within the Palestinian territories.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters during the summit that he is waiting on the U.S. administration to reveal to which extent Israel is willing to curb settlement construction.
In December 2016, the UN Security Council approved a resolution stating the illegality of the Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territories. The resolution – which was bizarrely not vetoed by the Obama administration- was severely condemned by Israel. Netanyahu said after the UN Security Council session that Israel would not be abiding by this resolution.
The negotiations between Palestine and Israel have been deadlocked for years due to the growth of settlements; Abbas said that he is not willing to proceed with negotiations as long as Israel expands its settlements in Palestinian territories.